Marcella – meet the cast and characters of the ITV drama

Find out who you need to know in the hit police thriller that has got viewers solving the mysteries of the series with their own impressive theories.

The gripping ITV detective drama from the pen of acclaimed Scandi-noir writer Hans Rosenfeldt is about to return for a second series.

But who are the key players in Marcella and what do you need to know about their background from series one?

[Read more: Everything you need to know about Marcella series 2]

[Read more: Where is Marcella filmed?]

Discover more about who the plot centres on with our guide to Marcella’s cast and characters.

DS Marcella Backland – Anna Friel

The new case Marcella is working on is very personal to her, as the body that has been found is that of a schoolboy who went missing – a friend of her son’s.

She’ll stop at nothing to get to the truth, but troubled Marcella is still suffering from the unexplained blackouts that made her unsure of her involvement in a crime in series one.

[Read more: 7 things you need to know about Anna Friel]

Marcella is also struggling with her relationship with ex-husband Jason and his life with a new partner.

Anna Friel is known for playing Beth Jordache in the soap Brookside, and has also starred in TV series Pushing Daisies, Odyssey, and The Girlfriend Experience.

"We join the second series a few months on from where the first series ended," said Friel.

"Marcella seems to be slightly more settled in the sense that she hasn’t had a fugue for a while but of course, in the world of Marcella, her security doesn’t last very long and she’s back off down the road of uncertainty and unsettlement.

"How is the relationship with Jason and her children at the beginning of the series? It’s not great to be honest. She’s really struggling with them and trying to make amends.

"Jason has moved in with his new girlfriend Becky who is a lot younger than Marcella, it’s a big slam to her ego. The children are staying with Jason and that’s really upsetting. When it comes down to it, they have chosen him over her and that’s a massive kick in the guts."

DI Rav Sangha – Ray Panthaki

Level-headed Rav is sickened by the new murder case as he is a parent too, but is also carrying resentment about being passed over for promotion in favour of Tim.

He’s a good friend of Marcella’s but is worried that her relationship with Tim will affect their work.

"We join the second series a few months after the end of the first," said Ray.

"We meet Rav, at what I imagine to be, the first big crime that he’s having to deal with since the first series. He’s faced with leading a team who are trying to track down someone who could potentially be the biggest serial killer in the history of the UK. We start the series with Rav and Marcella being called to a crime scene - a child’s body has been discovered inside a wall of a flat in Camden.

"Of course, this is just the beginning and the case keeps on spiraling into a dark and twisted underworld of events.

"Rav definitely seems to be put out by Tim heading up the team. Personally, I’ve given Rav a whole back story on how this came about which Hans might not agree with so I’d best leave that there!

"Although I will say this. Maybe Rav didn’t push himself far enough to get the job. He’s not very good at playing the game, because in doing so, it might involve being sly, dark and doing things a little bit underhand which Tim and Marcella seem to be quite happy to do. I feel that Rav is the moral code of the story; he does things properly, he has a strong conscience and a certain way of doing things which is always by the book. He’s a good detective and he likes to do things properly and I think, because of
that, sometimes it means the good guys don’t win. So, maybe he lost out on the job for that reason, because he doesn’t play politics very well."

[Read more: Marcella stars share series 2 secrets]

Ray Panthaki starred in EastEnders and his film credits include Kidulthood and 28 Days Later.

DCI Tim Williamson – Jamie Bamber

Newly-promoted Tim is in a casual relationship with Marcella which neither are trying to make any more serious. He’s also on the board of charity The Whitman Foundation, which could have knock-on effects this series.

"We join the second series several months after the first series ended," said Bamber. "Tim has moved across as DCI into the same department as Marcella, so he’s now her boss whilst also still being in a personal relationship with her.

"A new case appears and a boy who disappeared several years ago is found buried between a wall in an apartment in London, and in true Marcella and Hans Rosenfeldt style there’s a lot more than meets the eye.

"There is an array of characters that we’re introduced to early-on in the series and you’re not quite sure who is going to be relevant and who’s not. There are lots of themes running throughout the series that touch on very relevant news stories currently occurring in the world. Marcella is a serial killer drama and it’s about a detective solving a crime, but it’s also set in a real social context. Hans looks at issues in the news and interweaves them into the story."

Jamie Bamber has also starred in TV series Battlestar Galactica, Law & Order: UK, and Peak Practice.

DC LeAnn Hunter – Sophia Brown

LeAnn is new to the team this series, having been brought over by Tim from his old department. There’s rivalry between LeAnn and Marcella as they’re both ambitious and have a link to Tim.

Sophia Brown appeared in the 2017 TV series Clique.

Jason Backland – Nicholas Pinnock

Marcella’s ex is planning on getting married again – to a nurse he met in rehab after the events of last series. The animosity between Jason and Marcella is as bad as ever.

"We join the second series about four months on from the final episode of the first series," said Pinnock.

"Jason has moved on from Marcella quite dramatically and he’s in a new relationship with Becky. He’s only been with Becky a short while but has already moved in with her; very speedy especially as his previous girlfriend was murdered recently.

Speaking about Marcella's reaction to Becky, he added: "She doesn’t deal with it very well at all. On top of all the goings on at work, Marcella is having to come to terms that her soon to be ex-husband has moved on again so quickly and that their children have another home and woman to get used to. I think she’s finding it very hard to find her place within the new family unit."

Nicholas Pinnock has starred in TV series including Fortitude, Ice Cream Girls, and Top Boy.

Becky Marani – Yolanda Kettle

She might be much younger than her fiancé, but Becky’s life plans with Jason involve being a mum to his children and having a family of her own. There’s a steelier side to her personality which pushes Marcella’s buttons.

Yolanda Kettle is best known for her roles in TV series Howards End and The Crown.

Vince Whitman – Jason Hughes

Self-made business success Vince is busy building his gift emporium into a multi-million dollar concern, unbothered by PR disasters and smears against his name.

His marriage to Maya has suffered from his self-centredness and he feels he always has to prove that he’s worthy of being her husband.

Hughes said: "Vince is a businessman. In fact, he’s a wealthy, internet businessman who has made many millions but has recently come under fire from the public. The current unwanted press attention is due to his company, Red Cow Products, employing young adults on zero hour contracts.

"He’s married to Maya who runs a charity. She is equally very unimpressed with his recent behaviour.

"Vince also frequents a boxing gym. He has a very close relationship with the guy who runs it and he sponsors young kids who are poor and have come from a similar background to himself. Vince grew up boxing as a hobby, so his patronage means a lot to him.

"As we know, Hans, who has created the series is very clever at keeping many story strands going and tying them all in together at some point. All we know is that Vince is under a lot of pressure and has been in the papers recently. We also know that he whilst he loves attention, he prefers the positive kind."

The whole situation is putting pressure on him, his wife and their relationship and the foundation she runs to support young kids.

[Read more: When does Bancroft series 2 return?]

Jason Hughes starred in Midsomer Murders, as well as featuring in TV series This Life and Three Girls.

Maya Whitman – Victoria Smurfit

Stylish and successful Maya has made her charity, The Whitman Foundation, her life’s work. She helps disadvantaged young people with food banks, call centres and refuge centres.

"Mays runs a children’s charity called The Whitman Foundation which is going from strength to strength," said Smurfit.

"She is totally focused on it and she loves the fact her company is helping people. She seems to be quite wealthy and has come from a good background. She’s married to a man called Vince who didn’t have the same upbringing; he’s a working class self-made businessman who is quite self-absorbed. His company is currently receiving negative press and when we meet them their relationship is on rocky ground and the reputation of his company seems to be damaging their marriage"


Victoria Smurfit starred in About A Boy, as well as TV series Once Upon A Time, Dracula, Trial & Retribution, and Ballykissangel.

Reg Reynolds – Nigel Planer

The former drummer from 70s band Swiss Coast, Reg has been off-radar and in poor health for years until the body of a nine-year-old boy is discovered in the wall of his flat. Secrets and guilt about the past begin to haunt him as the case unfolds.

Nigel Planer is new to Marcella this series and is best known for his role in The Young Ones, as well as more recently in Episodes.

Alan Summers – Keith Allen

Reg’s manager Alan has been a crutch for his client for many years and knows all of his secrets.

Keith Allen starred in 24 Hour Party People and is also known for TV series Robin Hood and Bodies. His children are singer Lily Allen and actor Alfie Allen.

Phil Dawkins – Peter Sullivan

Ex-convict Phil has vowed to live his life on the straight and narrow after serving time for a violent crime, but is using unorthodox methods.

Peter Sullivan has starred in TV series The Borgias, The Hour, and 2017 adaptation Strike.

[Read more: Trauma star John Simm's 5 best roles]

Nina – Amy Dawson

Young and impressionable Nina wants to prove everyone wrong about Phil and her relationship with him. They’re expecting a baby together.

Amy Dawson has appeared in TV series Harlots, and in Chickens.

Eric - Josh Herdman

Josh Herdman - Eric in Marcella

The former Harry Potter actor, who played Gregory Goyle in the wizarding franchise, is cast as former soldier Eric. He is struggling tp keep his life together as he suffers from PTSD and is working a zero-hours contract to support his sister and neice.

Josh got his big break at 13 as Gregory Goyle, sidekick to Draco Malfoy, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. He went on to play Goyle in all seven of the Potter film adaptations. He actually narrowly missed out on winning the bigger role of Dudley Dursley to Harry Melling.

“I went through about four or five rounds for Dudley and got down to the final two but missed out on it,” he said some years later. “I didn’t hear anything for weeks and it was heartbreaking. But then I got a call asking me to audition for Goyle and got that.”

After taking a break from acting, he trained as a mixed martial arts cage fighter.

Fighting as a welterweight, he won his first bout by unanimous decision in 2016, and fought again in February of this year – despite an upturn in his acting career – winning on a split decision over three rounds

[Read more: Who is Marcella star Josh Herdman?]

Episode 6 previews and spoilers

Marcella shows Nigel Stafford into a line up room and he picks out the man he saw at the abandoned house.

The evidence is beginning to stack up against Vince: Karim is still missing and the team discover that a box of toys identical to the ones found around the body had been sent to Red Cow Gifts. Vince realises that Eric may hold the key to making some of his problems go away.

Vince surprises Marcella with the news that Tim has been sleeping with his wife.

The apparent conflict of interest becomes clearer when Tim appears to steer the team away from investigating Maya as part of the investigation.

Alan brings Reg’s confession letter to Marcella. In it he takes full responsibility for the death of Debbie Canavan. As Marcella digs deeper she discovers a surprise connection between Debbie and someone who’s recently entered her life.

Marcella, with information to trade with, gets Postfeed24 to send her the ‘haunted’ ghost footage from the abandoned house. From it, they get a clue to the location of another victim’s body that’s rather close to home.

Dr. Lewis reverses her decision on letting Gail see Joel and is impressed by the fact she’s discerned he wasn’t involved in an accident.

Sascha worries about using any money that was elicited from Maya’s plan and calls a halt to their IVF. Distraught, Jojo heads for a night out to take issues into her own hands.

Marcella returns on Mondays at 9pm on ITV.

Catch up on Marcella series one with BT TV – watch via the ITV Hub app.

Learn more about BT TV >

BT TV customers - Watch now on the BT Player

What to watch next...

More from BT